09/14/2006 - In the year 2006, some of the best-known brands in the alternative weekly universe are getting a little long in the tooth. The Village Voice is 51, The Boston Phoenix and San Francisco Bay Guardian celebrate their 40th birthdays this year and the Chicago Reader turns 35.
Alternative weekly newspapers – which began flourishing when Vietnam was the controversial US war and Bob Dylan was still decades away from AARP membership – may have been launched as stylistically freewheeling and politically opinionated alternatives to the mainstream media. But with the genre now well-established and firmly ensconced in middle age, a recent survey finds that its readership is adopting a more traditional and settled lifestyle as well.
“Damn it, we’re getting more mainstream,” says a half-joking Mark Hanzlik, executive director of the Alternative Weekly Network (AWN), an alt-weekly national sales cooperative. “Is that good or bad?”
A national telephone survey conducted for the network entitled Media Audit National Report—which tracked readership trends from 1995 through March 2006—found that compared to a decade ago, alt weekly readers are now wealthier, more likely to be married with children and less inclined to catch a movie or a concert .
Read the full report Alt-Weekly Readers: Older, Richer, and More Settled on Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.